Mar 9, 2014

Raped by My Man

Two decades ago, when I was raped by a man while vacationing in Kerala, I didn't know what I'd do.
My family didn't take it seriously and brushed it aside. They thought I was lying. 

I was raped twice after that. 

For many years since then, I lived with the abnormal fear and mistrust of strangers. I suffered at school - was bullied right through high school. I hated and tortured my body and held myself responsible for what some guy did to me. I craved for love, ended up in relationships that had no trust and it affected me in as many ways it would have affected a woman.

While my wounds have healed since then, when I hear about abuses against women, I question how much of that goes unreported.
For every rape outside of a relationship that does get reported, there are 100's of wives who are being raped by their husbands that goes under the radar.

The perpetrator will enjoy his 3 minutes of sexual domination and roll off to his side of the bed, and sleep.
Shocked, in pain and still trying to grasp what just happened, she isn't going to sleep tonight or for the next couple of nights either.
He may see the sadness of what she is going through next morning, and apologize. On his knees, maybe. Until she nods a half smile. Probably a special romantic dinner or a surprise gift hoping that she will have magically forgotten the brutality of his actions the night before.
The wife is now thoroughly confused. She knows that he loves her. He knows it wasn't a mistake. She hopes it won't happen again, and he now knows he can buy her silence. 
He now has a wife who he can play out his rape fantasies.
The wife won't 'snitch' on their otherwise picture-perfect marriage.
To save her husband's integrity? To save herself from ridicule and shame?
She won't snitch not because she refuses to believe the man who she once adored is now her pimp and her unpaying client.

Because she thinks he owns her by virtue of being married.
The husband deserves to ravage her body because she promised herself to be loyal and understanding through sickness and health until death do they part.

 
Because she hopes that this will pass? 'This could be just a 'one-off' '
Sure! Every crime is just a 'one-off' to its victim.
Of all the crimes we have perpetuated, sexual abuse is one that is the most brutal, most cowardly and yet the most invisible.


But then why would a husband want to rape his wife?
She is married to him after all. Isn't she?
He is probably the only man she will ever be intimate to, so why he want to turn something that should remain so sacred and intimate to something that will forever traumatize her?
Could it be a mistake or an error in judgement on the husband's part? I wonder why we don't do equally good things in error too - like pledge to donate your eye, or write your wealth to the truly poor and needy.


But aren't we the culprits?
Our parents, their parents and their parent's parents have always perpetuated the idea of a husband's sexual dominance within a marriage. Girls are supposed to be docile and mute and willing givers of sex anytime he desires. In a case of art imitating real life, there were a lot of South Indian movies in the last Century which would invariably have a scene where the husbands rape their wives, and the wife would put up with it because she is the Bharati Naari.
But then this is not just India. Across Asia and Africa, centuries of gender discrimination has conditioned women to believe they are always a pedestal lower than men.


Why we haven't passed legislation to encourage victims to report and discourage husbands from this, is beyond me.
Sure, homosexual sex can land you in jail but if you are raped by your man, the law looks away.


March 8th. International Women's day.
When we celebrate women so eloquently, we forget the millions who silently endure unspeakable pain and untold guilt.

Thankfully, times are changing and our women are growing up. When I hear of wives who came out of abusive marriages, I do a fist bump and I hope we hear of more women who will learn to stand up against abuse. Everywhere.

Sources: 

Domestic Violence against Women
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